Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is one of the most accomplished fighters in UFC history.
The Denver native holds the record for wins at 23.
He is one of the most popular fighters in the game.
Needless to say Cerrone, 37, is a lock for the Hall of Fame when he calls it a career.
In the here and now, he’s a fighter who wants to feel what it’s like to win again. That might sound strange given he holds the record for wins, but it’s true.
Cerrone has lost his last three fights. In his most recent bout against Connor McGregor in January at UFC 246, he got knocked out in 40 seconds.
At UFC 249 in Jacksonville this Saturday, Cerrone gets his first crack at ending his three-fight losing streak. He will face Anonthy “Showtime” Pettis for the second time in the Octagon.
- What: UFC 249
- When: May 9
- Where: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
- Watch: ESPN+, Fight Pass for Prelims; PPV for Main Card
As if Cerrone needed more motivation — he lost via first-round knockout to Pettis in their first go-round at UFC Fight Night in January of 2013.
“Donald showed up; ‘Cowboy’ wasn’t there,” Cerrone told ESPN in an interview about the McGregor fight and to preview Saturday’s event. “The wrong guy showed up. I couldn’t get going, couldn’t get excited, couldn’t get fired up. I didn’t want to be there. Biggest fight, all of the attention, my time to shine, and I didn’t want to be there. It was crazy. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. I don’t know how to change it.
“Two days before the fight (I knew) … I can’t put words on it. It’s like being somewhere you don’t want to be, man. It’s like being in a spelling contest and you can’t spell.”
For Colorado sports fans searching for a local twist for the first major event to bet on in Colorado, Cerrone is a good play.
Yes, he has local ties and is a Denver Broncos fan, but he’s also highly motivated to end the losing streak he’s on.
It’s not surprising the oddsmakers have Cerrone (36-14-0, career record) as the underdog to Pettis (22-10-0).
However, Cerrone enters the fight as the No. 6-ranked Welterweight in the UFC.
Pettis enters the fight as the No. 15-ranked Welterweight. In an odd twist, he also enters the bout on a two-fight losing streak.
Here are the odds as we close in on the fight. Note that Cerrone – Pettis is on the preliminary card:
- Cerrone (+118 DraftKings) (+130 FanDuel) vs Pettis (-143) (-152)
Close to retirement
The other motivation for Cerrone in all of this? He knows the end is near.
As his days in the Octagon count down, he wants to boost his record win total and get a good taste in his mouth.
Saturday at UFC 249 is his first shot to turn it around.
“It’s there. I’m getting old. I can feel it,” Cerrone told ESPN. “I can’t keep up with these young guys anymore. I want to say a couple more years, honestly. I’m not talking about retirement now, but I used to be able to see (the end) way down there. Now I can see it. I’ve probably realistically got a couple years, and that’s pushing it. So, I’m gonna fight my ass off, take as many as they’ll let me, and we’ll see.
“I could (keep fighting) until they won’t let me, but how healthy can I stay is the real question. How many shots can I take to the brain before my kids are reading to me? That’s the real concern.”
Impact on Colorado casinos
UFC 249 is the first major event for Colorado sports fans to wager on since sports betting became official on May 1.
Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and continued uncertainty for Colorado casinos, Saturday’s event could serve as a mini lifeline for those that have mobile apps up and running.
“I think, obviously, (casinos) have broader concerns,” Peggi O’Keefe told PlayColorado. O’Keefe is the executive director for the Colorado Gaming Association, the voice of Colorado’s casino industry. “They’re concerned about their employees and want to make sure that their employees are taken care of. That the casinos are working on trying to reopen when they’re finally allowed to. Making sure that it’s a safe environment for their employees and their customers.
“We’re excited about sports betting starting up, but there’s a long road ahead for casinos and making sure that they’re back up and operating.”
As of now, there are four apps for prospective wagers to use.
- DraftKings — partner with Golden Mardi Gras
- FanDuel — partner with Golden Gates Casino
- BetMGM — partner with Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino
- BetRivers — partner with J.P. McGill’s Hotel and Casino
That’s out of 17 scheduled to launch at some point in the future.
UFC 249 offers
Both DraftKings and FanDuel are running specials for Colorado bettors.
FanDuel is offering Tony Ferguson to beat Justin Gaethje at 5/1 (+500) for a $20 max-bet. This is enhanced from an original line of (-175).
In order for users to claim this offer in Colorado, they must make a deposit before accessing the 5/1 market on Ferguson.
This is open to both new and existing users in Colorado.
DraftKings is celebrating the fights by offering a $1 million Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) contest — the largest MMA fantasy prize pool ever offered on its platform.
UFC 249 odds and fight card
Interim UFC Lightweight Championship
Tony Ferguson (-177 DraftKings) (-178 FanDuel) vs. Justin Gaethje (+150) (+150)
Henry Cejudo (-210 DK) (-2225 FD) vs. Dominick Cruz (+175) (+186) (UFC Bantamweight Championship)
Francis Ngannou (-278 DK) (-310 FD) vs. Jairzinho RozenStruik (+225) (+250)
Jeremy Stephens (+206 DK) (+206 FD) vs. Calvin Kattar (-250) (-250)
Greg Hardy (-200 DK) (-205 FD) vs. Yorgan de Castro (+165) (+172)